The music is flowing once again for 36-year-old Chris Ides of Elgin. A Music major in college, Ides ability to play the trumpet was severely limited when he developed adult onset asthma in his early 20s. Now, Ides is dusting off the old trumpet thanks to a procedure he underwent at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital –Elgin called bronchial thermoplasty.
Bronchial thermoplasty uses thermal energy to reduce the excessive airway smooth muscle responsible for airway constriction in asthma patients. It is a minimally invasive procedure performed in three outpatient visits, each treating a different area of the lungs.
Pulmonologist Dr. Matthew Ivanovich, who performed Ides procedure, says bronchial thermoplasty offers new hope for patients with severe asthma.
“Despite the many available asthma medications, many patients with severe asthma still can’t get their disease under control. This is the first non-medication treatment for patients with severe persistent asthma that can provide long-lasting relief,” said Dr. Ivanovich.
Asthma is one of the most common and costly diseases in the world. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than 25 million Americans have asthma, and the annual cost of asthma is estimated to be $56 billion.
Ides’ asthma was so severe that he often had trouble doing everyday tasks. He was on six different medications, but found that often they didn’t work resulting in numerous trips to the emergency room every year.
“I would find myself winded. I couldn’t move as well as I should, and I simply couldn’t function,” said Ides. “I very quickly used up all my sick days at work, so I had to use vacation time because of my asthma.”
Ides was a good candidate for bronchial thermoplasty and the timing worked out perfectly to have the procedure. Although bronchial thermoplasty has been available in limited locations for over five years, only recently have insurance companies started to cover the procedure. Dr. Ivanovich was the first to offer it in the Fox River Valley region.
The treatment involves guiding a catheter through a flexible bronchoscope into the patient’s airways. No incision is required. The catheter tip delivers controlled radiofrequency energy to the airway wall to remove excess smooth muscle. This reduces the ability of the airway walls to contract and narrow during an asthma attack.
The minimally invasive procedure is done under moderate sedation or general anesthesia and the patient goes home the same day. About one third of the affected tissue is treated during a single procedure. A total of three procedures spaced over several months are required.
“While bronchial thermoplasty is not a cure, studies have shown a reduction in severe asthma attacks, a reduction in emergency room visits, and fewer days lost from work and daily activities due to asthma,” said Dr. Ivanovich.
Since completing the third procedure in late April, Ides says his quality of life has improved immensely and he hasn’t been to the emergency room once.
“I’m able to sleep so much better because I’m not up coughing all night. I used to have a problem with my left side almost every day. That is getting much better. And now I can enjoy riding my bike again and finally get back to playing my horn,” said Ides.
Of equal importance, the procedure has provided Ides some peace of mind.
“The asthma was always on my mind. I was always dwelling on whether I would be able to breathe,” said Ides. “I don’t want asthma to control my life. I want to control it. This procedure has given me that opportunity.”
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About Bronchial Thermoplasty Delivered by the Alair System
The Alair® Bronchial Thermoplasty System is indicated for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta agonists.
About Presence Saint Joseph Hospital- Elgin
Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Elgin is known for providing leading-edge technologies and holistic care with compassion for the individual. We offer a comprehensive range of high quality preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic services including acute inpatient care, outpatient care, home health, and educational outreach programs. Recognized for advanced heart, orthopedics, stroke, cancer and rehabilitation services; Presence Saint Joseph is a part of Presence Health.
About Presence Health
Created in November 2011, presence Health is the largest Catholic health system based in Illinois. With over 150 sites of care, including 12 hospitals Presence Health has 20,000 employees, 4,000 medical professionals and a revenue base of $2.6 billion.